Last night, my Uncle passed away. He’d been battling skin cancer for several months, and seemed to be actually fighting the good fight. Until 2 weeks ago. Then it was Stage IV and then…he’s gone.
I don’t have a terribly large family, nor is it a terribly close one. I haven’t seen my Aunt and Uncle in probably about 5 or more years. But this is my Mom’s Brother, and family is family, so I’m…at bit thrown. It has ripped me apart to hear my Mom cry on the phone over the past few weeks. Once I got the call this past Saturday that it was really not looking good, I have just shut down in some ways. I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ve withdrawn, I’m moody. I haven’t been sleeping well. Last night, from about 1am to 5am, I would be just on the verge of falling asleep, and I’d get that feeling like I was falling. ALL NIGHT LONG. It’s as if somehow, I knew. I couldn’t rest.
As a result, I’m just beyond exhausted.
I fly out on Sunday; the memorial service is on Monday morning. Then I fly out first thing Tuesday morning, land back in San Diego at about 1030am, and then head straight to the office to help our Office Manager finish payroll. I can not screw my Office Manager AGAIN – since I already left her to fend for herself doing payroll during my honeymoon. Granted, I don’t actually DO the payroll, but I collect the timecards, check the math on them, call all the stragglers who haven’t turned in timecards yet, etc. But this is for 150 people, +/-.
Today I went into work for about 2 hours. Then I just…couldn’t anymore. I’m tired, I’m drained, I’m numb. So I left. I have the best coworkers in the world who are super understanding.
I just – am at a loss. How am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to do? Should I be this exhausted, and be flip-flopping between numb and weepy?
My plan is to, in the short time that I am on the East Coast (really, like 36 hours, I think), be the taskmaster. Be the shoulder for my Mom, especially, but for whoever else in my family needs it. I will entertain with jokes and silly stories and probably talking a little bit about the wedding. I will hop in the car and run errands to pick up whatever is needed – from tissues to take-out. I will do chores and help cook, despite how crappy I am at both of those things.
I may offer to help sing at the service, if they’d want. I don’t know if they would. I know that my Uncle was very involved in his church, and particularly the Band. I sang at my Grandmother’s memorial a little over 10 years ago. I don’t know. If I think of it, I’ll run it by Mom.
The family sounds tired, but okay. Relieved that the pain is over. This cancer just ravaged my Uncle’s body in such a short time. My mom said that 2 weeks ago this past Sunday, they had all gone to church and then gone out to dinner. Then over that next 2 weeks, my tall, lanky Uncle had to get help getting out of chairs by his 5’1″ sister. Then he wasn’t able to eat for days, then his kidneys were failing, then bronchitis and coughing up blood, and then the cancer spreading to the lungs.
I worry for my family. My Aunt is in a wheelchair due to an accident she was in many years ago (before I was born, actually). Her daughter lives in the same town, but has panic attacks so bad that she is rarely able to leave the house. Her son, who I probably haven’t seen since I was 8 or 9 years old – has a girlfriend and children (and step-children) of his own, and I only recently found out that HE also has panic/anxiety issues. So I’m just wondering what will happen after all this. How long will my Mom end up staying down there, to help take care of affairs, or help with day-to-day chores, etc.
My mom hasn’t been back to New Jersey since late March. My parents came out to San Diego, then took a road trip across the county, and ended up in Virginia in the nick of time, it seems. Dad eventually went back to NJ, to pay some bills at the house, check on my sister, bro-in-law and the grandsons. He drove BACK down to Virginia just in time to be there for my one cousin (the homebound one) when she heard the news.
So I have no idea what kind of scenario I’m going to be walking into when I arrive on Sunday evening. Probably a bit of awkwardness, due to not having been around and not being terribly close. A sense of guilt, and responsibility. I need to make people laugh. And do just get shit done.
My sister and I have pretty much decided that we’ll stay at a hotel. No need to have 2 more people in that house, that they might feel the need to feed and entertain and get fresh sheets out of the linen closet for. That’s just silliness. There are a multitude of grandkids who should be there with the family, and surely tons of neighbors and friends will be stopping by. I’d personally go nuts if my house got too full. Regardless, I figure that my sister and I can just stay at a place near by, stock up on supplies (yogurt, those wrapped up paks of celery and carrots, diet coke and, eh, wine, probably, so that she and I can let the really, closer family be together the majority of the time.
I think my total travel time – there and back, is about 20 hours. Total time in Virginia is about 36 hours. I am TERRIFIED to get on a plane, and the fact that I have layovers on BOTH FLIGHTS, and part of each trip will be on a …non Boeing plane….scares me. I was googling some of the types of the planes I’ll be on hold like…60 people. Really small planes. I’m used to Boeing 737s and things of the like. The times that I haven’t flown on Continental-Affiliated flights have been just four billion times the tension and feeling of absolute doom. But due to timing, I have pretty much no choice. So I will be armed with xanax and all the booze I buy before/on the flight.
Eric is not coming on this trip with me. Eric has, I think, a lot less leeway with taking days off than I do. At least for now. So I am flying by myself. I just looking back through our honeymoon travel arrangements, and the type of plane is not specified. US Airways was the airline included in the package, and I would NEVER fly on them again.
AAAnnd. I looks like I might have been able to get all Boeing flights on Southwest. WAAAAAAAAH. Too late now.
As I was booking my flight, I was hyperventilating and nearly vomiting. My stomach has been in knots all day. I hate that I am going on a non-ideal flight, to non-ideal circumstances. I just feel: sick, sorrow, guilty, terrified, numb, upset, nauseous, tired.
If it’s not coming across now…it should soon…I’ve taken an Ambian in hopes that I sleep decently tonight. I’m supposed to go see Taking Back Sunday at the Ole Festival tomorrow. They’ve been one of my favorite bands, for geez, about 10 years now. So even if I am BY FAR the oldest fan there…eh, so be it.
I’m so tired. I think I’ve said that a few times already. I should probably pour myself in to bed right about now, and try and make it through the next several days.